Tuesday 1 November 2022

Doctor Who: The Power Of The Doctor ( mini-review with spoilers )

( Well, I say "spoilers" but it's been over a week since the show was broadcast so I imagine all the spoilers have been thoroughly spoiled by now. )

So, Jodie Whittaker's final story, barring of course any return for future anniversary specials or suchlike. It seems like no time since the Thirteenth Doctor first fell to Earth in, er, The Woman Who Fell To Earth and now it's time for her to change again. But first: Daleks, Cybermen, the Master, returning companions and other surprises. 
Even with its 90-minute running time, this special seemed over-stuffed with events, characters, plot-twists and locations... but I still thought it was one of the most fun episodes of the Chibnall era. I think the "Flux" season from last year showed that Chibs was finally getting the balance right ( or almost right ) between seemingly endless expository scenes and full-on action, while introducing some proper tension and interesting characters to his take on the Whoniverse. It's a shame this couldn't have happened sooner and made Jodie's era less frustrating but, anyway, The Power Of The Doctor was a suitably epic finale. 

It was certainly a BIG story with allegedly more FX shots than in any previous Who episode and gave us some jaw-dropping moments as the Doctor and companions hopped trains in space, were caught between warring planets, outwitted armies of Cyberman and Daleks, and witnessed the Master forcing the Doc to regenerate against her will. But, amongst all this spectacle, it was the smaller, character-driven moments that stood out the most. Sacha Dhawan's Master was again gloriously unhinged and at his absolute worst when needling the Doctor's companions  -  his scenes with Yaz were particularly, creepily effective. The biggest surprise was the amount of cameos for returning characters. Even though John Bishop's Dan was short-changed ( I believe due to his stand-up commitments ) there was room for Tegan, Ace, Kate Stewart, Graham, Vinder ( slightly superfluous ) and even some older incarnations of our Time Lord / Lady...

*Spoilers ahoy!*
Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker, Peter Davison and David Bradley ( as the Hartnell Doctor ) all put in cameo appearances as aspects of the Doctor's consciousness. This was totally sentimental fan service... and it was wonderful. All did a great job in briefly resurrecting their characters for this special and the scene between the 7th Doctor and Ace was so lovely it brought a tear to my eye. And, talking about blubbing, the final moments between the Doctor and Yaz were very real and quite moving, both actors completely selling the grief of their impending separation. And then it was time for the Thirteenth Doctor to regenerate, for once not inside the Tardis but outside its doors at, er, Durdle Door ( or a facsimile thereof ) in Dorset, in a beautiful scene as she gazed out at the sunset over the sea:
"Doctor whoever I'm going to be next  -  tag! You're it!"

A couple of hours before I'd made the above prediction on Twitter because we'd all seen the photos of the sainted David Tennant ( the best Doctor ever, ever, ever, drool, drool etc. ) filming material for next year's 60th anniversary specials. And, amazingly, I was correct as 13 regenerated into 10... or is it 14? 
"What, what... WHAT?" indeed.
I'm really in two minds ( not hearts ) about the Second Coming of Russell T Davies, which could be fantastic or could be a giant leap backwards, but we've got a while to wait until the RTD2 era materialises on our telly boxes. For now I'm going to remember the wonderful Jodie Whittaker who, for all the show's failings over the last few years, WAS the Doctor. And she was magnificent.


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